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You’re reading what?!

July 4, 2012

Every now and then I will challenge myself to read well outside my comfort zone, or a genre that I simply don’t read very much of. Often I am pleasantly surprised, occasionally I am left shaking my head and promising myself “never again”.

Last year I challenged myself to read some hard core Horror fiction which ended up being quite a lot of fun (apparently I like being scared witless. Who knew?). Recently I read some mainstream Westerns and while I generally wasn’t too fussed either way there were a couple of titles which left me shaking my head and thinking “why do I do this to myself?” So despite not minding the genre overall (Zane Grey’s Wanderer of the Wasteland remains one of my favourites), I won’t be reading any Westerns again in a while.

What I found amusing though was the reaction from my colleagues when I mentioned I was reading Westerns … apparently we don’t have a very high opinion of them and rate them pretty close to Mills & Boon Romances (another much maligned genre). Whilst some of the titles I read disappointed, a couple were pretty good stories on their own which just so happened to be set in the American settler period and featured men on horses. Others left me blushing with their graphic sex scenes (apparently I wasn’t expecting that from a Western).

But that’s what discovery reading is all about – taking up the challenge to read outside one’s comfort zone and discovering both intrinsic elements of your own reading likes and dislikes as well as some new authors to pursue (and maybe a few to avoid at all costs).

So, have you challenged yourself to read outside your comfort zone lately? Have you discovered a good read, a new author? Or the complete opposite?


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